Don't let those "too good to be true" techniques of online marketing success fool you. Companies or strategies that promise online industry saturation, high rankings, and skyrocketing conversion rates overnight are adhering to tired marketing antics that may actually hurt you (search engines weren't born yesterday). Knowing fact from fiction first will help you lead your marketing campaign down the path to happily ever after:
Fiction...FREE Search Engine Optimization!!!
Fact...Yeah, it's free alright. Free of rankings, free of leads, free of traffic to your site, free of quality search engines. Just like any other aspect of your business, it takes time, careful thought and talent to properly optimize a site. Can anyone really give you that for free? Listen to your gut, and ask what you're really getting for "free."
Fiction...Submit your site for IMMEDIATE listings in 40 gazillion Search Engines for $3.99.
Fact...Seeing results from SEO will take time and effort. Think campaign, not ploy. Do you really think you can get a bunch of quality listings in the search engines for less than a fast-food value meal?
Fiction...Stuffing MetaTags with tons and tons of keywords is all it takes for SEO success.
Fact...SEO techniques are not simple. Meta Tags, for instance, were once considered the end-all-be-all of SEO, but now are virtually ignored by the search engines. And, sure, tons of keywords on each page sounds great, but did you know that the search engines can detect if a keyword has been used too many times on a given page? The bottom line is this: careful site evaluation, research, planning, and patience are necessary factors of a long-term SEO victory.
Fiction...I got 3,572 hits this month!
Fact...Hits are the least reliable indicator of your site's SEM performance. A hit is nothing more that a file request on a server, not an actual visitor. Got 18 files on your homepage? You just got yourself 18 hits from one visitor. SEM should instead be tracking visitor sessions, referral rates, ROI and conversions.
Fiction...Guaranteed #1 Rankings in Google!
Fact...Nothing in life is guaranteed. Not even life itself. So why fall for a company that purports to give you guaranteed rankings or who drops the "we have a special relationship" line? C'mon. If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. We don't guarantee rankings - we don't control the search engines. Any algorithm changes by any of the search engines can cause month to month changes of anywhere from 3 to 20 ranking positions. Instead we monitor and track the search engines and your rankings to keep you moving in the right direction regardless of the whims of the engines themselves.
Fiction...Rankings can't be lost.
Fact: The search engines reserve the right to change their ranking systems at any time, which means rankings might be lost. Plus, another site could do a massive overhaul of their own optimization efforts and take your prized positions. If your site is optimized correctly however, chances are you won't take a huge dive. Just remember: fluctuations are possible.
Fiction...Marketing? Rankings? Yeah, my web-guy has it covered.
Fact...You wouldn't hire a plumber to fix your car, so even if your trusty web-guy can program his own socks off, why would you let him run your marketing campaign? Search Engine Marketing is an extension of your overall marketing plan; leave the work to experienced folks like us who can safely handle the complex and delicate process.
Fiction...That's it. It's all over. My site has been penalized and there's nothing I can do about it.
Fact...If your site has been penalized due to negligent SEO firms or common mistakes made by those who don't know better, there are ways to get back in the good-graces of the Search Engines. We know how to fix your site's faults and get in touch with the right people at Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and others, to get your site back on track!
Fiction...Well, my site's fully optimized. Done!
Fact....It's important to continually maintain and update your site's optimization. Thanks to the constantly evolving nature of the search engines and the Internet, optimization is always evolving, too. Consider what is Web 2.0 - the blogosphere, the introduction of social search through huge sites like MySpace and YouTube, mobile search (which is growing at a monstrous rate), local search...need we say more?
Fiction...Just stuff, like, 300 keywords into all the Alt tags and you're good to go!
Fact...Alt tags hold the text that appears before an image loads. Alt tags help users who have slow-loading browers, text-only browers, or who may be visually disabled. Alt tags aren't for search engines, they're for users, and it's users who should always be considered the target audience of an online marketing campaign. Seriously, do you really want to abuse a tag used to help the visually impaired?
Forget the fairy tales.